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Volvos gone shopping

Hangzhou was once the largest city in the world before silting of its port meant trade moved to nearby Shanghai. Today, Hangzhou Qiangjie Municipal Construction is using a fleet of 20 Volvo excavators to help build the Hangzhou underground shopping mall in Eastern China.

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province in Eastern China and, with its beautiful natural scenery, it’s one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in the area. Once the largest city in the world, Hangzhou’s most famous attraction is the West Lake – a body of freshwater featuring numerous temples, islands and gardens.

Needless to say, the city is one of China’s biggest tourist attractions – and wherever you find tourists you find shops. Lots of shops. In order to keep up with demand, building is underway at the Hangzhou Wuling underground shopping mall in the Xia Cheng District, which involves excavating several thousand cubic meters of soil. The project will take five years to complete. The contractor is Hangzhou Qiangjie Municipal Construction, part of the Hangzhou Municipal Project Company. The company employs more than 500 people and has over 60 years’ experience in both city construction and road development. It bought its first Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) 210 excavator in the early 1990s, and since then it has become a key player in the city’s construction arena.

“In 2008 I visited Ningbo, China, where six Volvo excavators were working together on a construction site,” says Lai Guoqiang, chairman of Hangzhou Qiangjie Municipal Construction. “It’s the first time I’d seen just one brand of machinery on a jobsite and it was very impressive – the machines were working together as one solid unit.” Five years later Hangzhou Qiangjie Municipal Construction had nearly 20 Volvo excavators working simultaneously at the Hangzhou underground shopping mall, including four EC140BLC machines, two EC210B-Series machines, an EC240BLC and an EC360BLC.

“Previously, I selected different excavators from competitors, but the choice was limited,” says Guoqiang. “Now, after using Volvo machines for over 20 years, I am a dedicated fan. My Volvo excavator fleet has become a vital force for Hangzhou Qiangjie. We focus on large-scale real-estate projects so our excavators play an irreplaceable role in the business. Volvo machines meet the strict regulations that are increasingly being implemented, so it’s one less thing for us to worry about.” Guoqiang’s construction team also has to adhere to the time schedule set out by the contractor, so reliability and uptime are extremely important. If an excavator was to break down, progress would be seriously affected, but the Volvo machines at this site have a 100% track record.

Hangzhou Qiangjie Municipal Construction is now involved in 70% of the city’s construction contracts. As the company continues to expand, more Volvo excavators are being used at city construction sites. “Using high quality machinery with low downtime makes such a difference on the jobsite,” says Guoqiang. “It’s the difference between a relaxed and stressful work environment.”

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